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Bira 91 ‘Imagined in India’ limited-release beers pleasing the desi palate with innovative flavours

The late English author Gilbert Chesterton once wrote: “Let a man walk 10 miles steadily on a hot summer’s day along a dusty English road, and he will soon discover why beer was invented.” He’s right, of course — there’s something about the combination of the warmest season and an ice cold brew that just works. Summer in Delhi is unbearable and we do not have an opposition for this. And, how most of us beat the heat is by gulping down frosty and flavourful beers. Delhiites can now rejoice as India’s popular beer brand Bira91 brings you a range of four new limited-release beers – Bollywood IPA, Kokum Sour, Brown Ale, and Mango Lassi – as part of their ‘Imagined in India’ initiative. Team Ambrosia was part of the preview tasting, hosted on April 07 2022 at the beautiful QLA, in Mehrauli, Delhi. The tasting was followed by dinner, curated by Chef Vicky Ratnani, and a live music set by DJ MoCity and DJ Nida. It was what we call a perfect dreamy evening filled with all the finer things in life.

A melange of flavours

The ‘Imagined in India’ beers are made with indigenous products and are inspired by the raw creativity of today’s India led by emerging artists, entrepreneurs, and startups combined with the cradle of flavours that find a home here.

The Bollywood IPA variant has a tropical twist, inspired by west coast India Pale Ales that were born in California, while Kokum Sour has traditional ingredients from the Konkan coast. We loved the Brown Ale – a blend of English Nut Brown Ale and the Antwerpian Amber with notes of coconut and vanilla. Fans of lassi would appreciate the taste of their Mango Lassi version that merges its Wheat Ale and a milkshake beer into one.

Ankur Jain, founder and CEO of the company, said, “For this generation of consumers, beer means flavour, and we deliver on that promise. ‘Imagined in India’ is an attempt to bring together the many flavours of India and its creative energy fuelled by emerging artists, entrepreneurs, and startups. Each beer is brewed with unusual ingredients – local and seasonal – which makes them unique.”

He further added, “Each of these flavours originated at the Bira 91 Limited-release Taproom at Koramangala, Bengaluru, where they received tremendous consumer love and affinity. The flavours were voted as the top-ranked choices by beer lovers, which inspired us to bring them to consumers across the country.”

Earlier, back in 2021, Bira 91, in collaboration with non-alcoholic drinks brand Svami, had rolled out Cucumber flavoured Kölsch. The Bira 91 x Svami Cucumber Kölsch is brewed with pure German Pilsner malt, a fresh cucumber flavour and the delicate caress of the finest German noble hops, with an IBU of 18 and an ABV of 6%. It is a crafted blend of bitter-sweet notes and cool cucumbers creating a crisp, balanced, and revitalising beer.

Staying true to the brand’s playful image, Bira 91 encourages consumers to be more experimental and creative, while exploring new flavours in everything, including the beers that they drink. The new ‘Imagined in India’ range is yet another exciting testament to delivering on that promise.

Collaborations for community growth

To bring alive the flavours, Bira 91 has collaborated with Kulture Co, a curated platform spearheading the new wave of Indian Graphic Art across borders. The brand on-boarded contemporary Indian artists from the Kulture Lab – artists who are breaking the mould and taking modern India to new frontiers – to conceptualise and design the packaging of the four new flavours.

Channelising their art and creativity on a new canvas, artists Ranganath Krishnamani, Osheen Siva, M. Sajid and Prince Lunawara showcase a vibrant palette of local stories around shared identities painted onto these beer cans, paying homage, and narrating the story of our home country.

Commenting on the idea behind designing the packaging of Bollywood IPA, artist Ranganath Krishnamani said, “Conceptualising the packaging of a flavour so bold and dynamic, that it takes you to the heart of Mumbai, where all things Bollywood originated, was truly exhilarating. Incorporating the charming art deco cinemas in Colaba, the iconic ‘kaali-peeli’ cabs, and the vintage colour scheme was the perfect way to capture Bollywood on a can.”

Designer of the Kokum Sour packaging, Osheen Siva, too expressed his thoughts behind the masterpiece and said, “Kokum is a tangy flavour, as Indians have developed a taste for since childhood. To depict a taste so loved yet so new to the beer industry was exciting. I conceptualised it to be something offbeat and loud. For me, the can had to give consumers an idea of what they were picking up from the rack when indulging in a Bira 91 Kokum Sour Beer.”

“Imagined in India to me is being authentic, raw and connected to our roots. Capturing the taste of Brown Ale that recognises uplifts and celebrates diverse communities of India and having the essence reflect in the artwork on the packaging was a great experience,” M. Sajid, who designed the Brown Ale packaging, enthused.

Prince Lunawara, who creatively illustrated the Mango Lassi can said, “India loves mangoes and merging the flavour with beer is as creative as it can get. Through the can, my idea was to celebrate this creativity and the beauty of India’s flavours.”

The limited release beers will retail in metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Pune.

According to Expert Market Research, the India beer market stood at a value of nearly 371 billion in 2020. The industry is expected to reach approximately 662 billion by 2026, rising at an estimated CAGR of 9.2% during 2022-27.

Bira 91 partners with boAt to launch an exclusive ‘BOOM’ Audio Collection

Bira 91, one of India’s fastest-growing brands in its category, and boAt, India’s #1 Earwear brand (as per IDC India Monthly Wearables Tracker, November 2021 release) have come together to launch an exclusive ‘BOOM’ audio collection that is high on both functionality and aesthetics. The ‘BOOM’ collection will include the brand’s quirky yet powerful Stone SpinX 2.0 and Stone 190 making them the perfect party companions. For those who enjoy music in their own space, this collection will also come with boAt Rockerz 450 Headphones.

The ‘BOOM’ collection has been intricately curated for consumers who are bold and expressive, and don their wearable accessories as an extension to their personality. It seamlessly integrates the daring colour palette and the striking design of Bira 91’s ‘BOOM’ variant with the fashion-forward aesthetically designed boAt portfolio. The limited-edition collection is expected to be nothing less than the go-to style statement accessory of the season.

To bring alive the central theme of music that resonates with both brands, Bira 91 crafted a special music track for this collaboration called ‘Get Set BOOM’. The high-energy video paints a picture of the perfect weekend, with music bringing friends together in an ultimate house-party setting. The playful and upbeat lyrics and strong visuals are complemented with subtle integrations of the audio collection and other brand merchandise to create the ‘party vibe’ like never before.

Commenting on this epic partnership, Ankur Jain, CEO and Founder, Bira 91 said, “Beer and Music are a match made in heaven, which is why we are thrilled to announce our partnership with boAt. At Bira 91, we have been partnering with several like-minded homegrown brands, to provide unique experiences to our consumers. And this association with India’s largest earwear brand is another step in that direction. The launch of the limited-edition collection of ultra-stylish audio devices helps both brands deliver on their consumer promise of quality and innovation. Our endeavour at Bira 91 is to become a lifestyle brand and we have been building a dynamic portfolio of products at the Bira 91 Merch Store. This partnership with boAt takes us a step closer towards that goal.”

Commenting on this association, Aman Gupta, Co-Founder and CMO, Imagine Marketing Pvt. Ltd. said, “We are elated to partner with Bira 91, a brand that is playful, creative and resonates well with our brand ethos. We aspire to launch the most unique, vivid and quirky products in the Indian market and the BOOM collection showcases our ideology really well. We hope our boAtheads enjoy using these products as much as we did designing them.”

The BOOM collection will be available exclusively on Bira 91’s Merch store and the boAt website starting 20th January.

Japan’s Kirin Holdings to buy under 10% stake in Indian craft beer brand Bira

According to Bira’s CEO, Ankur Jain, and a spokesperson of Kirin Holdings, the Japan-based company is buying under 10% stake in Bira, an Indian craft beer brand by investing 30 million (nearly INR 220 crore). Bira is owned by B9 Beverages, a company based in New Delhi. No further details about the financials of this deal have been released to the press yet. However, Jain mentioned that he expects the deal to be closed over the next few days.

Ankur Jain added that this investment will enable Bira to break even in the 2022 fiscal year after having reported losses in the recent years as well as in the pandemic. Furthermore, it will facilitate the plans ofthe Indian craft beer brand to launch its product in Japan in the later part of 2021.

In August, Reuters had reported that Bira was in talks with international brewing companies to sell 20%stake. Valued at $210 million in 2018 by Data Provider Pitchbook, 30% of the company is owned by theCEO Ankur Jain and his family while Sequoia Capital, the U.S. based venture capital firm, owns around 45% stake.

The craft beer products offered by the company have gained popularity recently. According to Bira, the company has a 5-10% market share of the beer market in the metropolitan cities of New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai although it was launched in 2015.

On the other hand, due to falling sales in its home country, Kirin Holdings has been showing interest in investing in independent breweries. It owns a minor stake in New York-based Brooklyn brewery. But all international dealings have not gone well for Kirin. In the year 2015, its operations in Myanmar came under investigation as its local partner had military connections and in 2017, the company sold its loss-generating Brazilian unit to Heinken after losing market share.